Book Review: The Bully Pulpit by Doris Kearns Goodwin

December 28, 2023

About:

The Bully Pulpit: Theodore Roosevelt, William Howard Taft, and the Golden Age of Journalism by Doris Kearns Goodwin views the Progressive Era through the lens of the friendship between Teddy Roosevelt and Taft. Ms. Goodwin is an award-winning author and historian.

  • 912 pages
  • Publisher ‏ : Simon & Schuster
  • Language ‏ : English
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : 1416547878

Book Review: The Bully Pulpit by Doris Kearns GoodwinMy rating for The Bully Pulpit 4
Buy The Bully Pulpit from Amazon.com*

More Books by Doris Kearns Goodwin*

Thoughts:

The age of which the book talks about would seem foreign to anyone who grew up after the invention of Social Media’s disinformation algorithms, attention spans which are measured in seconds, and surveillance capitalism wasn’t a given. At a time when the public believed the government could do good things, politicians were “of quality”, and people were interested in long articles about corruption.

The Republican Party was the progressives of the time. Both Roosevelt and Taft were challenging the status quo by attempting to enact laws to build a regulatory system that today’s Republican Party champions against.

The Bully Pulpit by Doris Kearns Goodwin could be considered three books in one. Two biographies and a history of investigative journalism. The narrative is told through the relationship between the two Presidents, lifelong friends, and the relationship between power and the press. Ms. Goodwin also writes about the two Presidents’ most avid partners and champions, Edith Roosevelt and Nellie Taft.

Even though they were great friends, the two men couldn’t be any different. Roosevelt with his abundant energy, was a political animal, while Taft was a studious lawyer whose ambition was to have a seat on the Supreme Court. Nevertheless, out of the two it seemed to me that Taft was the one with the better resume to become President.

Along the way, the author introduces us to publisher S. S. McClure, who started a magazine named after himself, with a staff of young, motivated writers. Specifically, Ida Tarbell, investigated Standard Oil Company’s predatory practices, the political corruption of Minneapolis, as well as issues with labor unions. Soon enough McClure’s became the voice of the progressive movement and, to no one’s surprise, Teddy Roosevelt was a patron they could only dream about.

Nevertheless, the relationship between Roosevelt and Taft is the star of this book, written with nuance and a keen eye. The book itself is by no means an encompassing biography of either President and provides little insight. The book tries to cover a lot of ground and if was not familiar with the biographical information on either man I most likely would have gotten lost and not enjoyed it as much as I did.

Buy The Bully Pulpit from Amazon.com*
More Books by Doris Kearns Goodwin*

Zohar — Man of la Book
Dis­claimer:I bought this book.
*Ama­zon links point to an affil­i­ate account, the money is usually spent on books

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The Bully Pulpit: Theodore Roosevelt, William Hard Taft, and the Golden Age of Journalism by Doris Kearns Goodwin
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Wrap Up

The Bully Pulpit: Theodore Roosevelt, William Hard Taft, and the Golden Age of Journalism by Doris Kearns Goodwin

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